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Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance

Cognition, Mindreading, and Shakespeare's Characters

Authors: Helms, Nicholas R.

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  • Applies theories of mindreading to Shakespeare
  • Considers disability studies and age studies
  • Provides practical methods for scholars, students, and performers
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eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-03565-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-03564-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

Cognition, Mindreading, and Shakespeare's Characters brings cognitive science to Shakespeare, applying contemporary theories of mindreading to Shakespeare’s construction of character. Building on the work of the philosopher Alvin Goldman and cognitive literary critics such as Bruce McConachie and Lisa Zunshine, Nicholas Helms uses the language of mindreading to analyze inference and imagination throughout Shakespeare’s plays, dwelling at length on misread minds in King Lear, Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, and Romeo and Juliet. Shakespeare manipulates the mechanics of misreading to cultivate an early modern audience of adept mindreaders, an audience that continues to contemplate the moral ramifications of Shakespeare’s characters even after leaving the playhouse. Using this cognitive literary approach, Helms reveals how misreading fuels Shakespeare’s enduring popular appeal and investigates the ways in which Shakespeare’s characters can both corroborate and challenge contemporary cognitive theories of the human mind.


About the authors

Nicholas R. Helms is Instructor of English at the Hudson Strode Program in Renaissance Studies at The University of Alabama, USA. His research applies cognitive science to early modern drama and poetry. He also acts as artistic director of the Improbable Fictions staged reading series.


Reviews

“Helms uses the tools of cognitive science to reveal the ways Shakespeare’s plays instruct audiences and readers in the nuances of mindreading—the construction of others’ thoughts from bodily evidence and by imaginative extrapolation. In addition to making a clear and compelling case for using current cognitive theory to decipher Renaissance texts, Helms gives us innovative readings—revisiting Lucrece’s trauma for her failed efforts to read Tarquin, treating Iago as a kind of psychic parasite, thinking about death in Verona through the lives of carrion flies—that reinvigorate Shakespeare studies.” (Karen Raber, Professor of English, University of Mississippi, USA)

Cognition, Mindreading, and Shakespeare’s Characters brilliantly brings together sensitive and critical accounts of research in the contemporary cognitive sciences; deft close readings of Shakespeare’s plays; and a fresh approach to character criticism.  Helms breaks new ground in the field; his emphasis upon misreadings and other forms of error both draws upon and critiques cognitive theories of mind, resulting in an interdisciplinary study that is genuinely bi-directional.” (Evelyn Tribble, Professor of English, University of Connecticut, USA)

Table of contents (8 chapters)

Table of contents (8 chapters)
  • The Mind’s Construction: An Introduction to Mindreading in Shakespeare

    Pages 1-15

    Helms, Nicholas R.

  • Reading the Mind: Cognitive Science and Close Reading

    Pages 17-43

    Helms, Nicholas R.

  • Inferring the Mind: Parasites and the Breakdown of Inference in Othello

    Pages 45-80

    Helms, Nicholas R.

  • Imagining the Mind: Empathy and Misreading in Much Ado About Nothing

    Pages 81-113

    Helms, Nicholas R.

  • Integrating Minds: Blending Methods in The King Is Alive and Twelfth Night

    Pages 115-142

    Helms, Nicholas R.

Buy this book

eBook $64.99
price for USA in USD (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-030-03565-5
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $84.99
price for USA in USD
  • ISBN 978-3-030-03564-8
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Cognition, Mindreading, and Shakespeare's Characters
Authors
Series Title
Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance
Copyright
2019
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-03565-5
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-03565-5
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-03564-8
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
X, 229
Topics